Process Blog 2.2 (November 15, 2015)

Process part one: sticking with one unitard for a while. Schpando is trying a uni-directional unitard-arian approach to costume. Although snug, it gives her physical extensions. Her oil-slick-thick shell appears to have some other influence, shadow, or desire that picks up on movement flows, like a spandex antenna, and pushes her around. Sometimes she has another face, and her personality is doubling as the work continues. She spent this month boxing and thinking about 'healthies' and 'belfies' (selfies after the gym, and from below) and observing the fitness regimen of a sociopath.

She sees A.Spaziani inside the party balloon biodomes, and listens to her sad spew about loss and holding onto memory fuzz. She's been possessed by, and obsessed with, the balloons, and tainting their celebratory hoo-ha with emotional, confessional, HOT AIR. The balloons move her, and they also move because of her. They are relational material. They are Affect Weather Balloons in a field of catastrophe. They change course from whatever forces push through A.S.'s HOT AIR trajectories. They also make the best mirrors for Schpando. Their sound reminds her of crunchy snow and winter romance, or when Chopin meant something to her. They are difficult to pop, but Schpando delivers in a Labanian/Lacanian moment of belfie EFFORT. 

The piano is an old friend. A.S's teacher died last year, but she only found out recently. If Chopin had only thought to compose with gloves... A.S is not a pianist. She is a dancer. It's different you know. She can remember sequences, and push them through her fingers in a little repetitive dance of black and white encoding, but where is the music? The gloves make this much more of a dance than a piano sonata. The dance lives in the transition between moments, between the keys. The gloves are like bridges. They are all transition. They are an aid to, not a loss of, dexterity. They add specificity.

The Fushitsusha/ Keiji Haino sound embrace encourages Schpando's continued transformation, cathartic improvisation sessions, and utter sincerity. He annihilates Chopin like an uglier older sister with a taste for vindication, and hyper-productive salivary glands. Haino, in an interview, on electronic sound: "... what you believe to be electronics is not precise. You cannot listen to all the elements of electronics. To be able to listen to them all, you have to train your ears. We have to know where overtones go, or where sound wants to travel to. What I mean by that is sound would never want to sit still, in my own idea. I moved my hands like this, because I feel sound wants to move to various directions freely. I should not dominate the natural sound if possible." Schpando takes from this an effort to not dominate movement flows, but tap into their space, their atmosphere, and ride their signals. It's about listening.

Please enjoy.

Questions: Who's positioning the camera? Who's editing? Is it Schpando, or A.S.? Are they interchangeable? Is it purposefully confusing? I think it's A.S pointing the camera at Schpando, but I wonder what it'd be like if Schpando directed A.S. Where would she put the camera? She might have other things to shoot than A.S...

More questions: Is improvised dancing 'MENTALITY'? Maybe. It's certainly mental, and floats along a Deleuzeian plane of immanence. It is also OBLIGATORY to space, and therefore subjected to whatever passes through space. This 'whatever' notion is distinct. It is not an apathetic 'whatever', but an acceptance of what-ever that could potentially surface ----> unexpectedly. Improvised dancing unconditionally says 'yes', so how far is the dancer willing to go towards 'yes'? 

Here's what Massumi thinks on mentality, in academic speak:

For Whitehead, the physical dimension of the body corresponds to actions performed in conformity to the past, continuing along the same lines as it, following the same schema. Thus the physical is a principle of conformity to already-emerged form. What characterizes mentality is the capacity to go beyond that givenness to improvise new forms. Note that I said ‘mentality’, and not ‘the mind’. Here, mentality is a mode of activity, and it functions not in opposition to the physical but with it and through it, by prolonging and renewing it.
— Brian Massumi, interview by Arno Boehler, 2013 (Politics of Affect, B. Massumi, p. 179)

PROCESS part two: sense maps, or chance collections of experiential information

Below are three variations on sense maps. The process for making them involved improvised dancing, and wandering, for 4-5 hours at a time. I use the term dancing to describe a mode of attunement, where I'm trying to respond/notice/move based on stimuli that push my body and influence my choices. I tried recording my observations a few different ways:

1. As I wandered, I talked into an audio recorder. I then listened to the recording, and made line drawings from the sound material, and the residual physical memory. I want to use these to create an environment in the studio - I'll experiment with collaborators as I go. I want to test how space and events are pushed through subjective filters, and are interpreted, or re-interpreted, but originate from an attentive state of the body. They are like experiential collages. It's my hope that they maintain their affective charge when transplanted into the studio, or they still operate to inform movements of the body, perhaps providing a set for a dance performance. 

2. Photos, with a legend of observations (all from one 4-hour session)

Nov 3rd sense walk: Cabbagetown to Kensington Market, Toronto

- Pushing a bike uphill

- Walking through a place of my past

- At a stop light, a woman screams, and makes disco poses, interrupting a pretentious dude talking about his website

- run into an old friend who is in a hurry as I come across anti-US propaganda re: gitmo, which keeps autocorrecting to gizmo. Is autocorrect a futuristic redaction technique? 

- walk past my old apartment where Erst Zundel once ran a Neo-Nazi bunker. The door is still bomb proof, there are bars on the windows, and plastic covering the basement entrance. The exterior windows are bullet proof. Looks like the place is for sale:

- see a rye, partially eaten by birds, but mostly good

- notice the window covering on a construction site, wonder about other purposes for leftover gift wrap

- hop on my bike, and at a stoplight I notice a woman sitting on the stoop reading in the sun (19 degrees today, unusual for November). I ask her what she’s reading, she tells me, and says it’s good. I thank her and keep cycling. This is a random passage I found from it:

‘A Handful of Dust’ by Evelyn Waugh

“The ceiling of Morgan le Fay was not in perfect repair. In order to make an appearance of coffered wood, molded slats had been nailed in a checker across the plaster. They were painted in chevrons of blue and gold. The squares between were decorated alternately with Tudor roses and fleurs-de-lis. But damp had penetrated into one corner, leaving a large patch where the gilt had tarnished sand the color flaked away; in another place the wooden laths had become warped and separated from the plaster. Lying in bed, in the grave ten minutes between waking and ringing, Tony studies these defects and resolved anew to have them put right. He wondered whether it would be easy, nowadays, to find craftsmen capable of such delicate work.” (somewhere in chapter 2)

- I think about a ceiling covered in gift wrap

- I get off my bike and walk through Kensington Market

- I notice that car, the one that’s been there for years, parked on the street, totally filled with dirt and growing all sorts of mosses on its exterior. They look happy in the 19 degree weather

- I spot my friend. She’s wearing a shiny silver hat. A man comments on her hat, and asks if it’s a solar hat. She says yes. She later tells me that a specific demographic of 40-50 year old men consistently comment on her hat.

- She exclaims that it’s ‘biceps November’ due to the unusually warm weather

- We look at cops on horses, and get pissed. My friend tells me a jerk-cop story, and I wonder if there’s a personality most cops have re: power tripping and entitlement. It's of course easy to have this opinion until you need a cop. I then remember the nicest person I want to high school with is now a cop. I feel prejudicial. We then realize they’re women, and feel better about it, but still prejudicial. We assume we will encounter the shit from their horses, because all cops on horses just shit everywhere and don’t pick it up. More prejudice...

- She walks with her bike, and trips on the road as a car is coming. Close call, but her wobble was funnier than the car fear. We joke about suddenly needing the help of a cop.

- We park our bikes and go into an Ecuadorian shop with a café at the back. I order an empanada and tamales. The salsa and salad come in a bag. I look forward to squirting the salsa out of the bag. The woman cooking for me is lovely. She told me I looked Iranian -  that my eyes were Iranian. I then remember a cabdriver telling me the other day that I had Indian eyes. I feel complemented.

- I notice the soda label. It looks like a bucolic Playmobile scene, and I think about wanting to be there. I think about what it would feel like to be 2D

- I notice the shop woman's button behind the counter: against Bill C-51, Canada’s anti-terror legislation, and I think about being watched, surveillance, and civil liberties

- We sit in the park and eat lunch. Every 5 minutes or so we get a waft of dog shit and wonder if we’re sitting on a former latrine. Probably.

-  A dude asks for a light. Neither of us can provide one. I’m glad I don’t smoke anymore, but I remember enjoying it. I think about my lungs being pinker now.

- An intimidating dog walks by and sniffs our food, but he continues on. Good doggy. Or maybe he just doesn't like salsa. Or maybe he knows we're sitting on a latrine.

- We have a long conversation about our feelings, our hearts, our ambitions, and self-care. There are giggles throughout. I feel embraced.

- We leave and we connect briefly with another friend. She's so peppermint fresh!

- We notice the horse shit we had predicted earlier. It's in full view on the road. Confirmed: some people who happen to be cops don’t poop and scoop. I think about how asserting prejudice politely/ making it sound better via political correctness is worse than just saying it and accepting the assholic consequences. Remembering that Denis Leary video from the 90's

- I remember loving Kensington. The sidewalks are too full, the streets are too slow, so everything moves a bit slower, in a nice way due to its anomalous rhythm. It makes me notice details more.

- I want the gold uni-suit in the window, and think about wearing it to a family party to somehow balance social chaffing with inner thigh chaffing

- I see a wood post, covered in staples, and experience what I usually experience when I see one: I imagine tripping and falling face first into the staples, and cutting up my cheeks. I have a visceral jolt and look at something else

- I think about commonalities in the things I noticed today: justice, politics, violence, food culture, friendship, police, prejudice, humour

3. Photos that are common in theme, but not in time

This is the most 'Instagram lifestyle' of the three methodologies. It is about noticing patterns and self curating (and likely about performing the self online as a kind of curated identity). I was in a state of active observation/ dancing when I took these photos, but they were taken on different days and I've pulled them together in hindsight. This series is related to death and absence. This approach feels less confined to the wandering proposal. These pictures have fewer direct physical associations than in #2. Note to self: sometimes a theme, depending on what it is, is a physical stranglehold.